What Do You Eat When You Have a Flu?

When you are feeling under the weather or having the flu, you may not feel like eating. It is understandable for you to feel this way due to the loss of appetite. To recover faster, you would need to eat foods that are particularly high in vitamins and other minerals that support your immune system.

Seventy percent of your body’s immune system is housed in your gut, hence the key to recovering from an illness is partly reliant on the foods you eat. Listed below are some of the foods that may help you heal faster.



Broth is usually made by boiling meat and/or vegetables. All of these ingredients are enriched in minerals. Broth has since been known as a traditional household treatment because it does not cost much, and the benefits are bountiful. It also helps in preventing dehydration, relieving sore throat, and breaking up congestion.

For a more concentrated dose of essential vitamins and amino acids, some people prefer bone broth. Bone broth, as the name suggests, is made mostly using bones and cartilage. This can be combined with other anti-inflammatory ingredients such as ginger, garlic, cayenne, or other preferred spices to achieve your desired flavor.

chicken soup

Chicken soup

Chicken soup provides warmth and comfort when you are feeling unwell. Chicken provides your body with iron and protein, and other ingredients such as parsley, turmeric, oregano, and basil help fight colds and flu.

Studies suggest that common ingredients found in chicken soup collectively combat inflammation. As a result, this food may help break up nasal congestion and relieve other upper respiratory tract symptoms.



Garlic is most known in providing flavor and can also be used as a remedy and an anti-inflammatory agent for various illnesses, as concluded in this study. Studies show that taking garlic supplements or eating raw garlic enhances immunity and reduces the severity of flu symptoms. It also fights off heart diseases. It can slow down the hardening of the arteries and lowers blood pressure. 



Almost all grocery stores are now offering various yogurt products – flavored, greek, non-fat, and even yogurt drinks. The body needs a certain amount of good bacteria in the digestive tract that yogurt provides. It contains live cultures of bacteria known as probiotics, which keep your gut in balance. It also helps relieve sore throats, but it also boosts the immune system. Other benefits of yogurt are found in this journal.  You can also eat yogurt as a snack and mix it with other healthy ingredients like fruits and oats. 

vitamin c like oranges

Foods enriched with Vitamin C

One of the essential nutrients that can help boost your body’s immune system is Vitamin C. This is why there are a lot of supplements for it. Nonetheless, getting it from the food you eat is more effective and recommended. 

Many fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C also contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are compounds that reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections. 

Some of the high vitamin C fruits are oranges, lemon, lime, and tomatoes. You can also get it from sweet or hot peppers, grapefruit, and kiwis, and even strawberries. Not a lot of people know this, but strawberries contain more immune-boosting antioxidants than oranges. A cup of strawberries can deliver nearly the amount your body needs daily. 

Leafy greens like kale

Leafy greens

Everyone knows that vegetables are considered a healthy food. Notably, leafy greens such as spinach and kale help boost your immune system as they contain Vitamins C and E and plenty of fiber that aids digestion.

Since leafy greens contain anti-inflammatory components, they may help your body recover faster when you have the flu.



Like leafy greens, a serving of broccoli contains immune-boosting vitamins C and E, calcium, and fiber.



A warm bowl of oatmeal is a soothing and nutritious food that can be easily prepared and taken when you are sick. Like other whole grains, oatmeal is a natural source of Vitamin E and polyphenol antioxidants. It is also known for its beta-glucan fiber content. The fiber in oats keeps the healthy bacteria in the body in check. 

To get the most benefit, consider eating whole oats. Top it with bananas for extra fiber and potassium. This idea is perfect for people experiencing fever, diarrhea, and vomiting as these symptoms deplete the potassium and other electrolytes in the body.

spices like peppercorns, anis, curry, cinnamon, ginger, and more


Pepper and horseradish are few of the spices that can help break up sinus congestion, which is one of the most common flu symptoms. Be cautious, though, hot and extra spicy foods may be painful, especially when experiencing sore throat symptoms. Spices can be added into broths for extra flavor and health benefits.



Flu may be accompanied by nausea. To reduce nausea, consider adding ginger into your diet. If your stomach feels uneasy, it may also help in the digestion process. Ginger also contains properties that help diminish the frequency of vomiting.  Ground or chopped ginger are delicious additions to soups and stews. It may also be added into herbal teas, along with some lemon and honey.

fluids like water

Bonus: Fluids

It is not enough to just eat well. You also have to keep yourself hydrated. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you should do to help your body remain healthy and fight off the flu. Listed below are the recommended fluids you can take when you are sick.

  • Water. The recommended daily intake for adults is 8 to 10 glasses. The body uses water to flush waste products, hence drinking plenty of water helps speed up the recovery.
  • Coconut water. It is rich in potassium, sodium, and chloride. Your body loses electrolytes when you are exhibiting symptoms like excessive sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. Drinking coconut water may help replace the electrolytes in the body and help you recover faster.
  • Hot tea. A cup of hot tea soothes a sore throat and warms up the body. Tea blend with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger can particularly help break up congestion. Green tea is also beneficial as it contains polyphenols, which is a powerful antioxidant.

These are the top 10 foods that can help you boost your immune system when you have the flu. All of these contain vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. You may take these foods exclusively or combine them in a dish to maximize the health benefits. You can take care of your body in a lot of ways, but eating right and staying hydrated is the best way to recover quickly.